Wick Curiosity Shop



Yesterday Hackney Wick witnessed a guerilla workshop in the form of a small [but expanding] group of local residents, deploying a workshop space from the back of the Wick On Wheels milk float. Between the hours of one and four thirty in the evening we occupied a space on the roadside, adjacent to Station food and wine emporium. Those involved partook in the construction of a number of components key in extending the back of the milk float so as to provide a flexible space which will cater for a variety of activities which are in planning for the months ahead.

Whilst some of us worked on harvesting and processing sheet aluminum from the beer cans we have already collected, others continued building the prototype lightweight panel, which will constitute one of 8 duplicate pieces. Others constructed timber boxes from reclaimed timber pallets donated to us by Central Books. These were later located in prominent positions with heavy footfall around the Hackney Wick area. The purpose in doing this is in to provide boxes for local people to bring their uncrushed aluminum beer cans, which we will process and incorporate into our build.

David, [the nomadic man] even found a use for our waste [that’s using the waste product of a waste product]. He makes musical instruments from waste materials and began crushing down the left over can bottoms to begin making a tambourine. Big thanks to Lucy, Susie and David for spending the day with us and also to everyone else who stopped to chat… the day was great fun.

Enjoy the pictures and maybe see you next week for the next one...

Carbonize your planter

Delighted that we will be holding the next workshop with Charlie Seber at the Cre8 centre. Negotiating Health and Safety took a bit longer then expected as we are planning to start a little fire ...

If you have time on the 2nd of March in the afternoon please come and join us for a practical workshop with local horticulturalist Charlie Seber and Japanese architect Takeshi Hayatsu. We will re-use bathtubs to build a unique plant regulated growing system which will be housed at the new Cre8 Arc in Hackney Wick. Charlie has been experimenting at his home with plant regulated growing systems. These reduce the need for watering and weeding and significantly increase the yield. This workshop will extend the experiment to Hackney Wick and will embrace techniques from the far east. Takeshi will introduce the japanese method of timber scorching: a vernacular treatment developed long before paint systems, and still used in Japan today. The charred timber will both clad the planter and reference Charlie's ongoing carbon experiments which will be discussed during the workshop. No previous building experience is required.

The workshop will start at 2.30 pm on the 2nd of March 2013
at the Cre8 Centre in Hackney Wick

Places for this workshop are limited and RSVP is essential.
To confirm a place email us here

Re-claimed material building workshops

Over the next four weeks we will be running daily open workshops on the car park at the Cre8 Centre in Hackney Wick. We will be building an extension to the Wick on Wheels (WOW) milk float using recycled and reclaimed materials. Please join us and get hands on involved, learn how to work with recycled materials or simply drop in for a chat. No previous building experience is needed.

We are on site Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12 noon until 5pm

The daily workshops will be focused on a number of tasks. We will be building roof panels from recycled beer cans, set up a workspace using reclaimed timber from the Olympic site, build a planter using old bath tubs and more. All from our mobile workshop at the back of the milk float.

Over the coming four weeks we will also be running more focused building workshops on Saturdays that explore specific aspects of working with reclaimed materials. Everyone attending the workshop will have the opportunity to engage in the different processes of making during the course of the day and contribute to the experimentation and design development.

Also drop in to learn about the Cre8 Arc project and community garden which is taking shape at the back of the Cre8 centre.

Saturday workshops run from 12 - 4pm see the events section for more details

For more information call Steven on 07450 965277, or email us here.

Bream Street

Years ago I saw a presentation by Martin Slavin talking about his work with the Games Monitor network. He showed us a short film about (below) the spawning bream in the river Lea.

"… This spawning cycle has been going on for many centuries. It is now under threat from the Prescot channel which will block the waterway. This barrier is part of the construction for the Olympics in 2012. Local residents wonder if this would be the last year these fish would be spawning in Hackney."

I always wondered about those spawning bream and if they managed to survive despite the restriction in tidal movement and their preference to spawn in shallow waters.

Last week on my search for a fishing collaborator I met Mark from the new E20 fishing club which only last November took over the old lock house. A beautiful spot by the old Channel 4 Big Breakfast building (for thos who still remember). Mark has been fishing at this very spot for the last 20 odd years, often in the middle of the night. From his years fishing on site Mark has an immense knowledge of the area and this very spot.

As it turns out it is also one of the places where there bream's spawn in spring. They are still around and apparently it is quite a spectacle. They used to feed of the peanut shells dumped into the water by the Percy Daltons peanut factory.

You can read Martins article on the spawning bream on the Games Monitor website - here.

The spawning Bream Hackney Marshes 2008 from Kym Oeser on Vimeo.


Very nice to meet Thomas Fletcher yesterday and delighted he will be hosting the next Wick Session preceeding one of their Banquets made entirely from waste food. Thomas also runs the Re-juce company from his self build kitchen at Victoria Wharf in Fish Island- obviously - entirely made from reclaimed material.

To find out more about the Banquets visit their Facbook page
or have a re-juice here.

Wick Session #9 on Affordability will be co-ordgansied by Richard Brown on the 23rd of March at Victoria Wharf. More info to be announce shortly.

Can Collection

Our new can collection point is up and running at the entrance to Queens Yard. It is filling faster then we thought it would. Only 25% of alluminium cans get recycled in the UK - a shockingly low number baring in mind that alluminium is 100% recycable.

We are collecting the cans to build a light weight roof panel for the WOW float. Over the coming weeks we will be working on the car park of the Cre8 Centre. Helpers or curious people are always welcome. We will set up a few weekend workshops as well. Times to be announced shortly.

On display - come and see

Our Wick Curiosity Book Shop collection is now on display in the public works studio at The White Building. If you want to have a browse, just email us and we arrange a time to come and see us.

Also if you have any further contributions to the collection of books, postcards, pamphlets, newspapers, poster, t-shirts etc... which deal with Hackney Wick that you know about and which should be included in the collection please let us know. We are keen to develop the library into a more extensive shared and open resource about the area and its transformation.

Tin Tiles

We are working on a light weight skin for the float re-using old cans. In the process we are re-inventing the can opener ... We will be on site at Cre8 from next week onwards to build first prototypes of the components. Drop by if you want to join in or if you have old cans to contribute to the skin they are always welcomed.